Today’s the day when airfares will increase, thanks to a jump in the 9/11 Security Fee from $2.50 per segment with a cap of $5 for one-way trips and $10 for round-trips, to $5.60 for a one-way regardless of the number of stops and an elimination of the cap on round-trip airfares.
Consumers banded together with the aviation industry and airlines labor unions to oppose the increase in these fees; however, Congress, in a budget deal between Senate Democrats and House Republicans, stuck to its focus on not increasing taxes and decided to increase fees on travelers.
Since about half of the increased revenues will be going into the general fund, Travelers Alliance believes that, in reality, this amounts to a tax increase rather than a flight specific security fee.
Plus, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) decided to go against the will of Congress and eliminate the round-trip cap. That means that the increase in the security fee might be as high as $22.40 for an Atlanta-Denver-Chicago-Atlanta trip that once would cost only $10 in security fees.
If the intent of Congress had been followed, the maximum for that trip would have been $11.20. However, TSA and the administration decided to ignore a letter from the budget negotiators and impose their own interpretation. Consumers and the airlines lost.
So, get ready for an increase in the cost of flying. And, get ready for more to come — airports want to increase their $4.50 airport facility charges to $8 in the near future and Customs and Border Protection is requesting an increase in the customs and immigration fees in the coming year.
For the time being, passengers find themselves paying more for something that they dislike and that has questionable spending priorities and quantifiable benefits.